Korg ARP 2600 FS vs Behringer 2600 Head To Head Comparison

In his latest video, synthesist and module developer O.Z. Hall compares the Korg ARP 2600 FS to the Behringer 2600, two modern takes on the the classic ARP 2600 synthesizer from 1971.

While they’re both based on the same vintage synth design, they’re designed with very different goals.

  • The Korg ARP 2600 FS is designed to be a full-size, high-end reissue of the original, with the same physical interface and features as the original, plus a copy of the original keyboard, road cases and more.
  • The Behringer 2600 is designed to be an inexpensive copy of the original, so it’s smaller in size, it does not have some of the features of the original, and has changes to the build to make it cheaper to manufacturer.

Complicating the comparison, both instruments also have some new features, designed to make the instruments better fits for modern studios.

Hall’s video offers a head-to-head comparison of the two synths, discusses where they are similar and where they differ, and his take on which he prefers. Check it out, and share your thoughts on the two synths in the comments!

Topics covered:

0:00 – Intro
0:56 – Overview of the 2600 “Modules”
2:11 – 3620 Keyboard Controls
3:43 – VCOs compared
4:55 – Filter, Envelopes, Output, Reverb
7:09 – Preamp, Envelope Follower, Ring Mod
7:37 – Noise, Voltage Processor
7:57 – Sample & Hold, Electronic Switch, Headphone Output
8:55 – Keyboard Controls, Portamento
9:24 – Back Panel, LFO, Kybd CVs, Repeat
10:56 – VCO outputs compared on Oscilloscope
13:17 – My Conclusions and Opinions

33 thoughts on “Korg ARP 2600 FS vs Behringer 2600 Head To Head Comparison

    1. Is that keyboard so special? An LFO is easily added externally. Still, haven’t jumped on the M, while it’s been on my mind to grab one. But of an odd thing to place in my musical corner, and no idea if it truly adds something to my handful of semi-modulars.

      1. The performance section is unique on the 3620 – the 2600 is incomplete without it.
        The keyboard itself is nothing special ofc.
        The team at behringer did the right thing here to build the 3620 features into the unit.
        If i get appetite for a 2600 i will order a behringer grey meanie with analog spring reverb.

        1. the 2600M is not incomplete w/o the kbd. I had an original 2600, but can do much more with my MPK261 (and I’m sure many others) and external modules, which we all have lying around. The 2600m is brilliant. It sounds much better to my ears than the B2600. And I just got mine on a flash sale for $1149, so.. that is one of the best synth values I have ever seen.

    2. Also shame the 2600m has been discontinued when you finally have funds and time to
      get one. If behringer did not exist that posibly would not have happened

  1. No contest. Behringer sounds tinny, harsh and brittle with an unusably high noise floor. Lifeless, cold, it sounds like it’s constantly clipping. The Korg sounds lush, rich, three dimensional. Classy, which is reflected in its very fair price. Cosmetically the Behringer looks dinky and extremely flimsy , the flashing light make it look like something you would get in a Kinder egg. The Korg looks rugged, military tactical grade. Just my two cents, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, ultimately it’s about the music.

    1. “Behringer sounds tinny, harsh and brittle with an unusably high noise floor. Lifeless, cold, it sounds like it’s constantly clipping.”

      Definitely, we must have watched different videos.

  2. I had a Behringer Blue Meanie and I sold it after a slider started (temporarily [at least for now]) gumming up. I purchased a Korg 2600 M when they recently went on sale in Canada for $600 off. There’s a recent Anthony Marinelli video comparing a Tonus 2600 and a Korg 2600 M. There were some audible differences. I sent the video to a friend who builds and repairs synths and he told me the differences in the waveform sounds and filter response were due to the Tonus not being properly calibrated. If the Tonus were properly calibrated they would be extremely similar.

  3. In this video, the Behringer oscillators sound slightly brighter to me, the Korg seems a bit more dark. Would have loved to hear the filter and a more musical comparison. Good video though!

  4. The Behringer Blue Marvin/Grey Meanie have better electronics and a hw spring reverb. It is $100 more expensive than the Christmas light og version but I wonder how much better is that version compared to Korgs.

  5. I can’t fault the twinkly lights. They’re helpful on a fiddly instrument like a modular. I understand why some people might roll their eyes at it, but back when my first synth pal and I merged our stacks for a project, I would have been happy to have seen those on his 2600. We barely knew diddly over squat then. 🙂

  6. The B2600 was a no-brainer for me – price and quality wise. Behringer did a wonderful job in making an iconic synth available at such a price – without touching the quality. While Korg have surpassed themselves on for instance the Wavestate, I cannot imagine why anyone would prefer the K2600 over the B2600 …

    1. “I cannot imagine why anyone would prefer the K2600 over the B2600”

      The video talks about one big reason – the K2600 is a real, full-size ARP 2600, so you’re working with the synth the way Alan R Pearson designed it to be 50 years ago.

      I tried both, I felt the same way. The Behringer has a much cheaper build and and feels a lot more ‘fiddly’ in use. It’s harder to tweak sounds precisely, because of all the controls are smaller.

      The K2600 sounds much more like the original, even when you get the Behringer with the spring reverb (which is real, but is a smaller reverb and doesn’t really sound like the original.)

      From my perspective, it’s fantastic that both options are available, though, and they both can sound great.

      1. “From my perspective, it’s fantastic that both options are available…”

        Where are the Korg ARP 2600 FS and Korg ARP 2600m available?

        1. 2600M is still available in smaller webshops for their regular price; it seems the major retailers ran out due to the massive discount During Black Friday. I guess they’re still production.

  7. This reviewer is right, in 2023 is the lights on the knobs and the build in speakers the most important features for these devices, not the sound they make <3

    1. I thought the Behringer 2600 was brighter and slightly louder. Both sound great!

      Once you start patching and sliding the sliders you need to hit record somewhere … neither will never sound exactly the same again … similar at best. ANALOG!

      By the way the Behringer 2600 Marvin and Gray Meanie both have an analog spring reverbs.

  8. “If price were no object, would you prefer the really expensive thing or the cheaper one??”

    And oddly enough, in this particular case I’d still take the cheaper one (Blue Marvin or Grey Meanie edition). More compact, great build, +1 LFO, and the lights are genuinely useful to see what’s going on.

  9. I’ve owned 3 2600’s. The grey original, the grey with the updated KBD, and a black & orange. I stupidly sold them, but… I just purchased a 2600M on a flash sale for a ridiculous price and I have to say it is amazing. It is at least as well made as the originals, if not better, sounds perfect, and I couldn’t be happier. Korg did an outstanding job, and the $1149 price was the best deal ever for such a great instrument. I did not like the B2600 at all, although their ARP2500 euro modules are superb.

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